Local councils are finding it hard to engage with the UK Government on issues relating to the net-zero transition, including target-setting and securing funding, the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed. In a new report from the NAO, published today (16 July), it is revealed that 91% of the UK’s local authorities have set at least one climate commitment, with more than one-third (38%) committing to reach net-zero for their operations or local area by 2030. But their ability to deliver against these goals could be hampered by a lack of clarity and support from Whitehall departments. On the clarity side of things, the report states that most local authorities would support the introduction of mandates for net-zero targets from councils. This should come with additional guidance on how to communicate targets and accelerate decarbonisation, the NAO’s consultations with city, town and regional leaders found. The report additionally urges departments to close green policy gaps as soon as possible, giving local authorities confidence in the direction of travel in terms of timings and technologies for the UK’s highest-emitting sectors. It cites a stock-take from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) which found 45 policy areas that are likely to impact the local response to the climate crisis. The Ministry warned of a potential “significant risk” of inconsistent goals and messaging.
Edie 16th July 2021 read more »